King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Long, slender, and fast, King Mackerel is one of the most desirable saltwater species of the Atlantic.
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Where and When?

King Mackerel is a migratory fish, and your success depends on being in the right place at the right time. Two major migratory groups are recognized. One, known as the Gulf population, spends the summers near Texas and migrates to Florida by November to March. Another, known as the Atlantic population, appears near the coast of North Carolina in spring, then moves over to Florida, where they spawn, and by the early fall begin their migration back to North Carolina. It’s a bit of mystery where exactly this population winters. But whichever way you look at it, in terms of King Mackerel fishing, nothing beats Florida.

About King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel, a.k.a. Kingfish, is an unmistakably saltwater creature built for speed. It has a long body, small, nearly undetectable scales, and the dorsal fin that can fold down into a special indentation on the spine, to be level with the body for minimal resistance. King Mackerel has a dark grey colored back, with silvery light sides and underbelly, and a peculiarly uneven lateral line. The mouth in their sharp-pointed head is full of big sharp teeth that slash through their prey, though King Mackerel themselves serve as prey to bigger fish such as Marlins and Sharks. The world angling record for King Mackerel is 93 lb. for a fish caught off Puerto Rico.

How to Catch?

Fast and predatory, King Mackerel are best fished for by trolling. Both live baits and artificial lures can be used to great effect, but most captains believe live bait is your best bet if you want to catch a big one. Proper rigging of live bait is essential, as King Mackerels attack their prey by slashing it into pieces; just hooking the bait up front might result in the Kingfish swimming happily off with the tail part of the bait. Beware of those teeth when you land one! Wrecks, reefs, and hot-spots that attract lots of prey fish are the places to go. King Mackerels typically require relatively high trolling speeds. They travel in groups, and if you hit on one, you’re up for quite a few minutes of hot action, with fish often skyrocketing out of the water. Kingfish are great and stubborn fighters, that require a patient and careful approach.